Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Some Slack for Darius

Let me preface this by saying I am not a big fan of Darius Miles. In fact I am on record from last October (O-Live Blog archives 10/24/05) saying:

Darius may have talent, but he shows up 1 game in 5 and is a complete waste of space when he's not dominating. I know it's only pre-season but we're talking attitude shift here, not talent development, and he obviously hasn't made it, either because he's too stubborn or too clueless to know it's necessary. Either way, please, save us some headaches...dump him now. Or at least don't play him anymore. Whichever, but get him out of my sight.

And my opinion of his on-court efforts didn't change much even when he was scoring 20 a night. I do still hope they move him. However, I will say this: Part of the reason he's become Public Enemy #1 around here is because the road was so well paved before him. If we hadn't been through a few years with the Riders and Bonzis of the world, the off-court antics for which he's receiving such grief would seem more of a curiosity than a deal-breaker. From a detached point of view, a couple of ill-thought-out comments, a late night at a strip club, and a clothes change at halftime, while admittedly foolish, are really more juvenille than destructive. The clothes incident was the worst, but I also remember Alaa Abdelnaby "forgetting" to put on a jersey under his t-shirt during a game and Rick Adelman getting really cheesed when he called his number. I'd guess none of the rest of it is uncommon in the NBA, just better hidden. There's no excusing it, and I'm not suggesting it be tolerated, I'm just saying that the guy picked the wrong time and the wrong place, and he can say a big "thank you" to the guys who came before for making it that way by rubbing every last nerve around here. That, as much as anything, turned him from a loose cannon into a pariah.

I don't expect this will be popular, but I even understand what he was saying with the whole "bobblehead" thing. On the one hand the coach and management are telling him to be a franchise player. On the other hand they don't trust him enough to feature him, instead promoting guys who get ten minutes a night. To him it was probably a mixed message. Of course the power struggle between the forwards and management/coach became increasingly obvious as the season progressed, and maybe that's part of it. (If you have tapes of the games, watch through a few and see if you don't see an example or two of the old "blue flu" played out on the court.)

When all's said and done, I think Darius could still be an impact player on the right team. That would probably be a big market where the media didn't care. If he had a couple of solid frontcourt players behind him--guys who were good help defenders and rebounders, freeing him to roam the passing lanes and poke away steals--he'd probably score 18 every night and be heralded as a decent defender and a marvelous second or third option in the offense. That isn't here though, and won't be soon.

I wouldn't say I have a ton of sympathy for Miles, but I can see how things got to where they are.



Blogger ignacio said...

I don't hate Darius. I guess I still remember taking some pleasure in how well he played at times. But I'll be glad to see him gone.

If we can get someone like Reggie Evans for him that would be great, though by now I'm sure he's out of reach.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Scott R said...

I am mixed about Darius. I live in San Diego, so all of my information is second, third, and fourth hand. However, when given the change i read everything i can abou the blazers and their players. This said, I am very torn with Darius. I think he is a great talent if it could be harnessed at least 4 of every 5 games, preferably 5 of 5. I don't think he is as big of an idiot as everyone thinks he is either. His IQ is probably a few points lower than a lot of us, but i can see his point of view. I think his biggest problem is that he doesn't see everyone else's point of view so he can't change himself into a better person and player because he doesn't see anything he says or does as being problems. I read the lengthy interview last week that wheeler(i think?) did with him that was posted in the o-live blog and really understood where he was coming from and why he feels the way he does. Anyhow, this is lengthy, and i don't think anyone is reading anymore. Just my thoughts! Thanks for the new blog to read Dave!!!

8:20 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Hey Scott...don't apologize for being lengthy. Have you read the blog?!? (lol) Thanks for posting comments. I like reading them too.

Reggie Evans would be a really interesting fit. I think he's out of reach for Darius too. But I'll check the salaries...

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Laurel T said...

I think you are right about your take on Miles. He is right about the media here too, they will look for the next whipping post even if the offenses continue to decline in 'value'

I thought the "blu flu" comment was right. Miles quit on Nate, I knew it the game it happened and what Nate did to trigger it the day before. I
said it at the time. It was re-enforced to me that his ego could not handle what was going on in his interview.
Nate made a mistake that that I think did what we call in dog training "blow them up" too much training pressure applied at the wrong instant.

A sample, I was driving a team of sled dogs in a race and we are going down a hill on a fast trail
at my teams best pace. The musher that had the team competing for the national #1 title in our class
with her speedy hound mixes blows by my Siberian huskies. Part way down the hill her leader that has the
team going as fast as capable already, gets called a command for more speed.... the leader can not go faster and is already under the pressure of having the team behind her....so she 'blows-up) quits in
spectacular fashion. Stopping suddenly and diving back causing a monumental tangle....later in the
race this musher catches up and passes me again and as we near the finish she again calls for more
speed when her leader has no more to give... and this time the dog looks for a way out and makes a gee turn at 20 MPH and leaves the nice broad groomed trail for a deer trace though the brush...
I have seen it many times with horses, dogs, and with kids too. Ask for more than they can handle and
they quit. Some have tough minds that can handle more pressure, others have to be handled
differently by the trainer or teacher.

So I think that was what happened after the Boston game....Miles and Zach have one of their best
overall games of the season, both play perhaps their best they are right now, and they lose to Boston by a couple of great plays by a great player. The rest of the Blazers did not have great games. Instead of praising Miles and Zach for their effort and ask the others for more... it was reported that Nate climbed all over Miles and Zach in front of the team to be more, to be Paul Pierce. Then IIRC McMillan tells the reporters that the blazers need to go out and acquire an all-star... to get him a Paul Pierce....

The next night at Sacramento Miles had your blu flu...

Now Miles being a human is supposed to be able to reason though it and it was certainly his responsibility to continue to do his best. But I do think that snapping point was partly that coaching mistake, one made with all good intentions of
pushing his best players to be better.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Agreed Laurel. I think you're right in pointing out that Nate has some culpability here. I like him and I'm behind what he's trying to do, but I think even he'd admit that there were some cards played at the wrong time this year as he was getting to know the guys. The thing is, Nate's performance will improve as he gets to know the team better. I'm not sure Darius' will. Honest mistakes can always be overcome, but lack of effort is much harder to cure. Thanks for the thoughts!

8:42 AM  
Anonymous fatty said...

i can really care less for miles
seriously he's a bum but, in his
defense what he said about upper
management is true they blew the
draft c.paul over any of our
pg's is a no brainer, the problem
with the blazers are they suck !!!
period plain and simple to many
preschoolers and not enough men
these young players did'nt develop
enough and as far as nate goes
he's the only one to realize
that this team was'nt going anywhere nash told him to play
the kids early but nate was coaching like he was playing for a 2 seed in the west he did'nt know
until game 77 that this team sucks
as for him asking for p.pierce
he's right like espn said last
month the blazers have the 3 most
overpaid players in sports in
fatbo-d.miles-theo im a no go !!!!
nice blog see you when they blow the draft and pick bargani over morrison later !!!!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Spotchester said...

Darius is lazy, self-centered, and arrogant. Maybe worse is that he has no passion for the sport he's being paid tens of millions to play and no respect for the fans that make that possible. Is Darius the type of guy who can suddenly change his entire mentality and turn his career around? I highly doubt it.

You say you think Darius could help some team, I say you're nuts. I think, in five years from now when Darius is still a turd, that there will still be some people out there raving about his potential.

At some point you have to quit apologizing for someone and see them for what they really are. Darius is a scrub, face it.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Mickeytwo said...

Amen. Couldn't have said it better. And I think his talent is overated too. The guy is an offensive bust beyond fifteen feet and can't make a free throw. His recent interview with Quick confirms his mentality. The question now, who wants him? Nobody else did when he was given his huge contract. How many takers this time after his antics this season?

1:49 AM  

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